Ben Roethlisberger Replaces Fake Autograph Doctor Unknowingly Gifted to Patient

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks across the field before an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger replaced a fake autographed football that an innocent Minnesota doctor gifted a patient in a story that went viral earlier this year. 

"Hey, Seth. Hey Doctor Stu. Ben Roethlisberger here, sitting in our practice locker room getting ready to go out for practice," Roethlisberger said in a video sent to Dr. John Stulak and patient Seth Bayles, per ABC6. "I wanted to shoot you a quick note to say ‘Thank You for being Steelers fans’. I appreciate your guy's support. I saw your video online. Doctor Stu, how you gave the football to Seth, I thought that was really, really cool. But something kind of caught me off guard; that the autograph wasn't mine.

"So I just wanted to send you a video just to let you know that I appreciate you guy's support. And Seth why don't you check with your mom? She might have something for you … and you too, Doc. And Doc, thanks for all you do. You're a true hero. Seth, keep up the good fight brother. Pulling for you, praying for you and thanks for your support. Alright pal, talk to you later."

Stulak is a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, where Bayles undergoes treatment for an autoimmune condition that "is killing all of his healthy cells and tissues," according to his mother. The doctor and patient bonded over their shared love of the Steelers, and Stulak gifted Bayles what he thought was an autographed Roethlisberger football after he had a complication last month.

Stulak said he was given the autographed ball by his brother nine years ago. Once the story went viral, Roethlisberger confirmed the signature was not authentic.

Roethlisberger's social media manager then met with Stulak and Bayles to present them with a video message from Roethlisberger and two new footballs—this time actually signed by the man himself.